Ordinary Treasures

Ordinary Treasures

There are many touching common threads that run through the experiences of very young children. One is their sudden infatuation with ordinary items they discover on the floor or on the ground. I am always intrigued and peacefully startled when a child becomes fascinated with a found object: a very old metal washer, a pretty rock, a tiny spring from a ballpoint pen, a small pointy stick, a pine cone, an orange bottle top. Each little treasure is loved and special because the child found it, absolutely out of the blue.


This interest in looking at little things deepens a child’s ever broadening sense of curiosity. Once curiosity becomes part of a young child’s life, he (or she) begins to notice everything more and feels more connected to where he is and what he is doing. Creativity triples.  

The child places the special object in a pocket for safekeeping and touches it often just to make sure it is still there. Later we find him sitting in the grass, examining his precious discovery in the company of other treasure-finding friends. Sharing becomes possible as he realizes he loves what others have found as well as his own discovery. 

In the classroom, the child takes the special object out of his pocket and examines it closely, mesmerized by the sparkle of the washer in the sun as it moves like a small wheel. He watches its shadow change as he rolls the pretty rock, the little spring. He observes the sunlight showing through the openings in the pinecone. The child’s connection strengthens as he experiences the pleasure of really paying close attention to something. 

Something very inner and deep is growing and will stay with the child as he gets older. In the meantime children feel the richness and fascination of ordinary objects. Confidence builds too as they find so much to value in their little lives.

Anne Martine Cook has 39 years experience teaching nursery school children.